Empowering America's Small Businesses to Confront China
By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
July 23, 2019
America’s ability to rise to the challenge, from the revolution to the moon landing and beyond, defines our shared past. Time after time, the nation has met the moment because we marshaled the national resources necessary to do so. The Small Business Administration is one such example.
When the act was last reauthorized in 2000, only 41.5% of households had Internet access, and nearly all of those were using dial-up with speeds of 56k or less. In 2000, it would be six years before the iPhone’s debut; wind and solar power accounted for a fraction of a percent of our nation’s energy sources; and Americans bought fewer than 10,000 hybrid electric cars annually. It was also the year before China became a member of the World Trade Organization.
China’s accession to the WTO came with the optimistic promise of fair-market access, economic liberalization, improvement in Chinese political and human rights, and, ultimately, new export markets for American small businesses. This has not happened. Instead, China took advantage of this system and made a mockery of international trade rules, stealing American trade secrets and flooding our markets with illegitimate import competition.
America’s small businesses now face an unprecedented threat from the Chinese government and Communist Party’s systematic industrial espionage and coercion, large-scale subsidies, and sweeping obstruction of market access. In the last two decades, thousands of small manufacturers throughout the U.S. have been wiped out, with devastating effects on the small-business supply chain and availability of good work to millions of Americans.
Today, China carries out its comprehensive plan for expansion into the industries of the future at the direct expense of American jobs, businesses, and local communities. It is not a threat we can afford to ignore or simply oppose with defensive measures. Fortunately, we have options. Just as the SBA was instrumental in developing the technologies to win the Cold War and the space race, it can be the linchpin of our efforts to stay ahead of a rising China.
In the years since 2000, China has pillaged the American economy, a pattern of exploitation we are only now seeing with clear eyes. We have an opportunity to transform the Small Business Administration into a tool that not only empowers individual- and family-owned businesses, but into one that will fortify these firms against foreign abuse and galvanize America’s economic development in the 21st century.